Energy security secretary Grant Shapps met officials in Kyiv yesterday, in a show of support for Ukraine’s power industry.

Shapps confirmed to energy bosses British loan guarantees worth £192 million, designed to ensure the victim country’s continued purchase of source fuels & uranium services on international markets.

Ukraine depends on nuclear power for around 55% of its electricity, second in Europe only to France.  Its 13GWe installed capacity ranks it nominally as the world’s seventh largest civil nuclear state.

In March 2022, invading Russians seized Europe’s biggest nuclear plant ever constructed, the six 1GW reactors of state operator Energoatom’s Zaporizhzhia plant on the Dnipro river in the centre of the country.

In June 2022, IAEA director general Rafael Grossi said “at least five of the seven indispensable pillars of nuclear safety and security had been compromised” by reason of Russia’s occupation of the plant. After further attacks in August, the IAEA that all seven had been breached.

The plant continues to operate, however, in tandem with remaining Westinghouse-designed nuclear plants at Volhynia, Rivne & Khmelnytskyi.

Minister Shapp’s visit comes after Britain hosted in June the Ukraine Recovery Conference, which saw international commitments totalling $60billion pledged for the nation’s recovery and reconstruction.

The UK government also agreed a Memorandum of Understanding committing support to Ukraine’s energy sector and its “green energy” future.

During yesterday’s visit, Shapps visited a power station, badly damaged by Russian bombing and now undergoing repairs.

The £192 million loan guarantee will be made through Britain’s export credit agency, UK Export Finance, enabling UK-headquartered Urenco to supply Ukraine’s national nuclear company, Energoatom, with uranium enrichment services, a vital part of nuclear fuel.

Once provided, the support will bring the total of the UK’s non-military assistance to Ukraine to nearly £5 billion.

Shapps was later shown around a kindergarten – pictured – once attended by Nikita, the young son of the family he took in under Britain’s Homes for Ukraine scheme. The facility had also been damaged by Russian shelling. The children performed a song before Mr Shapps played them a recorded message from Nikita.

“Being here on the ground, it’s truly remarkable witnessing first-hand the sheer courage, resolve and gritty determination of the Ukrainian people,” Shapps commented.

“Putin has used energy as a weapon of war. The action today to support nuclear fuel deliveries will help Ukraine end their reliance on Russian supplies and bolster their energy security.”

Interest declared:  This writer is privileged to host a succession of Ukrainian guests in the UK, aided by the government’s Homes for Ukraine scheme, and overseen by UK charity Refugees at Home.


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